tv [untitled] February 7, 2012 1:48am-2:18am PST
into protection against unscrupulous developers. with that, i support very heartily supervisor wiener's amendment, and hoped to adopt it. thank you very much. president miguel: thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i am an architectural historian. i have been active in historic preservation for a long time now. for the last 10 years in san francisco, i have been active on certain boards. i oppose supervisor weiner's amendments and support the position put forth by san francisco heritage and the hpc. in general, i would favor a robust historic preservation program for the city of san francisco. i recognize there are frustrations around historic
preservation processes. i also think it is a mistake not to acknowledge that preservation has worked extremely well in san francisco city wide for the last 40 years, supporting the tourism industry , and enriching the lives of the citizens who voted in favor of preservation when they passed proposition j in 2008. i hope san francisco i would hope that san francisco would follow the example of other cities that do not have as much acrimony as we seem to have here. the city of beverly hills supported more robust new preservation ordinances. i would respectfully are urging you to support the greater public interest and maybe if we could look to the planning commission to provide the leadership that today's testimony is proving is lacking in san francisco for a healthier
discussion around preservation matters and historic buildings. thank you. president miguel: thank you. [reading names] >> good afternoon, commissioners. i would like to start by thanking the planning department for keeping the dialogue going over so many months. it has been exhausted, but i think we have come much closer together than where we were even just a few weeks ago. the proposed legislation, however, remained remarkably fluid, as evidenced by the refinements' put forward and recommended unanimously yesterday. between the new language introduced by supervisor wiener regarding the secretary standards and the hpc revisions
yesterday, most of the major concerns have been addressed in proposed legislation. we urge you to adopt the hpc revisions that were approved yesterday, but we do remain particularly concerned about the proposed economic hardship provision that is in supervisor wiener's proposed amendment. it is important to note that proposition j was updated, and it is unlike any other i have seen in my career. other economic hard to provisions in other cities target low-income and very low- income residents. the primary beneficiary of this proposal, it appears, would be residential projects that significantly exceed the city's existing definition of moderate income units. the potential result, although perhaps unintended, with potentially displace a very low in, and low-income residents in favor of projects that exceed
moderate income levels -- this place very low income and low- income residents. as a result, we cannot support the proposed economic hardship provision in its current form. however, in concept, we are supportive of developing a balanced best practices economic hardship provision for san francisco. thank you. president miguel: thank you. >> hello, commissioners. i owned a home in the mission. i just want to say we love the beauty and character of san francisco and do not want to see it ruined, but the goal of preservation has to be pursued in a practical and realistic way so neighborhoods are not ruined and people cannot be ruined financially by unnecessary rules and costly bureaucracy. there notification -- the majority of homeowners are not lawyers -- fair notification.
we cannot afford a lawyer every time we get some cryptic notice about historic preservation rules. i say stick to the 66% in terms of maturity. how we got better notification from pg&e when they were going to put in a smart meters and dpw when they were going to put in new asphalt. affordability -- many people on these buildings have limited means. it is expensive to maintain and cost prohibitive to restore buildings that become eyesores and safety hazards because people cannot afford to fix the electrical or heating. we live in a patchwork neighborhood. we have beautiful houses that look like the day they were built, side-by-side with houses that have been heavily modified, stripped of their trim, and degraded in other ways. it makes no sense to impose the same standards on both of these types of properties because they are on the same block. i am not a lawyer or planner,
and i cannot understand the details and nuances of the legislation, but we do have a problem, which supervisor wiener's legislation addresses of -- addresses. for this reason, i support it wholeheartedly. president miguel: thank you. if i have called your name, please come up. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i am with the san francisco preservation consortium. i have no doubt that everyone in this room -- the planning commission and our 16 million or so tourists a year -- led san francisco's historic architecture as well as the new things that are going on -- love san francisco's historic architecture. the question is how will san francisco grow? we could double in size over the next few decades. we should follow the example of the city of los angeles, which is conducting a citywide survey to identify historic resources
and protect them. historic preservation is inherently green, and we need to do survey first. we need to understand how to do contractually appropriate development, and after we have done that, to look at where new development will occur. the city is a collage, and historic resources are part of it. until we survey them, identify them, and protect them, our collage is going to be perhaps precariously put together. this is an interesting photomontage of shanghai over 20 years. i had the unique opportunity to give some shanghai planners a tour of san francisco several years ago after they had lost a lot of the historic resources.
they asked us -- "what can we do?" they look at our historic preservation ordinances as a guide. we have to make sure we get this right. what we do not need our additional hurdles, obstacles to survey -- are additional hurdles and obstacles to survey, chipping away at the standards, including affordable housing criteria that is up to 150% of ami. rather than looking at historic preservation incentives -- i am sorry, i am trying to read my own riding -- writing. what is important is that we do not adversely affect our own historic resources, especially looking at them cumulatively as we lose them one at a time.
i urge you to support the historic preservation commission's recommendations from their january 18 transmission to you, to let go of the recent changes with the 50% outreach component. i would also like to say it has been difficult for the public to follow this process. hpc met yesterday, and we have not had a chance to really digest what the final amendment is. president miguel: thank you. >> thank you. president miguel: [reading names] >> good afternoon, commissioners. my name is gloria ramos. i am both an architect and a general contractor, but more
than that, i am el latino has been asked -- a latina who has been asked to kind of interprets some of the historical guidelines, etc., for a latino community that is trying to preserve a historic landmark. i have to say that i really support the architectural heritage recommendations because -- and the historic preservation commission because they have gone through public hearings, and their attempt was to simplify. i must say i have tried to follow for the last couple of days the changes that were presented, and i find them really confusing.
when i try to explain these two other people in the community, it makes it very complicated. because they are changing so rapidly. i would really like to see it as simple and straightforward. i am also in favor of low-cost housing. i have spent my lifetime on it. in fact, what i interpret this to say is that if somebody proposes something, which is a development, they get a break, if you will, in costs. i am not so sure that it helps the low-income housing groups. i would like to keep it -- i would like you to pass something that is simple, straightforward, easy to interpret, and that has gone through the public hearing process.
too often, when things get put in at the last minute, the implications are just not recognizable. thank you. president miguel: thank you. [reading names] >> good afternoon, commissioners. i am an architect and a structural engineer. as many of you know, i have brought projects before this board for over 25 years. i have an office in san francisco. almost all of my work is in san francisco, and my wife and i live here in the city. i have spoken to colleagues about the amendments before you today. most were reluctant to appear because their current work is judged by the policies you may or may not implement, but this is precisely why i am here. this is my first time testifying on a policy matter unrelated to a specific project. so i speak for them.
one renown said francisco architect who would have been here today but is currently out of town -- one renowned san francisco architect. we support especially the amendments concerning the secretary's standards, which are broadly written and are perfectly appropriate for landmark buildings like this, but they are not well-suited for every old building. because they are broadly written and had been used to argue both sides of the coin on controversial projects, or even worse -- as the basis for a red herring arguments to oppose projects on the grounds that have little or nothing to do with preservation for historic buildings. as san francisco continues to grow, you will see more adaptive reuse project and significant additions to buildings in the future. speaking from experience, these types of projects are very difficult to design, especially considering seismic and disabled access.
for these projects, the standards simply do not work well. adopting a set of workable, flexible guidelines for designing buildings for interpreting the standards would benefit those like me, who take seriously our responsibility for designing buildings that will preserve and enhance san francisco's unique character. most importantly, clear and fair guidelines to prevent the splitting hairs and drawing of sorts often played out during these public hearings -- splitting of hairs and drawing of swords. i urge you to adopt the amendments as proposed. thank you. president miguel: thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i live in north beach. i am a retired city employee. i have been involved in the present -- preservation movement for several years now.
i am a third-generation san franciscan, born here. my mother was born here. her parents met here. my father was born in northern california. his grandmother is buried in the mission. i think i have a responsibility to try to keep san francisco the way it is, and i think you people do, too. this is probably the most popular tourist destination in america. there is a reason for that. obviously, people come here because they think they know what to expect. it is important to keep it that way. i am opposed to supervisor wiener's attempt to emasculate the historic preservation commission. there was a good reason for the city to vote for proposition j several years ago. it was resoundingly approved, if you will recall. i think that the historic preservation commission proved itself to be more effective than
many expected, and since that occurred, there has been a kind of concerted effort -- shall i say, destroy it. certainly emasculate it, but developers and may i say carpetbagger's that have come here for different reasons. some of them to make their own mark on sentences go history, i guess. in regard to the current -- make their own mark on san francisco history, i guess. in regard to articles 10 and 11, i hope you will vote to keep tenants and occupants in the process. i am a tenant myself. keep the majority vote rather than any 2/3 requirement. do not restrict input to written communications. just show that you have a
respect for san francisco the way it is and try to keep the process for nominating historic districts as simple as possible. thank you. president miguel: thank you. >> linda chapman. my personal opinion is that from what i'm hearing, the weight of the secretary's standards are being applied, probably not very practical or beneficial. on a tour, we stood in front of one of these buildings where they had stripped of everything that had been applied -- the shingles or whatever -- and they were putting on gingerbread. we stood down there and applauded the people who were doing it. i suppose if it were in an historic district, that would not be allowed. i agree that there is a difference between making alterations to a landmark, which may have to be very closely controlled, and trying to restore something where in a city, we have fire, you know?
the photographs disappeared. entire archives of photographs disappeared. records and so on. we should not say that because that happened, we cannot do anything. sometimes, there is a better way than having one position and another position and fighting it out. there can be more nuanced work on. my main position is about there being some kind of high standard in terms of a vote or whatever it will be. for this, i am speaking for nob hill from my experience of 12 years. we will never have an historic district in a neighborhood like that. it cannot happen. more recently, there was an attempt to have it in and essentially similar territory, dependent on getting a certain percentage of property owners. they could not do it, and i could have predicted that. i did not think they would be able to.
we had a very powerful neighborhood association. hundreds of people came to the hearings -- literally hundreds. hundreds of people paid us dues and financed lawsuits and so forth, but we would not have been able to get 50%. i do not know how it will be used now because it is also fluid. could not have been done. we have big institutions. grace cathedral was over there, and the union club, the hospital owns pieces of property that you would not know they own. we have the tenants working on this -- a lot of them -- but not all of them are going to be involved. we had quite a few condo owners, and we had some property owners who own those apartment buildings and actually live in the city, but we would never have been able to get 50%. to get 20% was almost impossible. in a building like the co-op that i moved into, the board did
not care, and it did not come to us owners. in the building where i live, they did not care. in a lot of the condo buildings, they are a second home. people are away. just as a lot of the apartment buildings are owned by absentee landlords who live in some other country a lot, so that cannot happen -- president miguel: thank you. [reading names] >> hello, commissioners. i am a fifth generation san franciscan. i live on telegraph hill currently. i am a real estate broker for 42 years. i am a property developer. i have done over 40 projects in the city.
in 1970, i was asked to join a group called the san francisco architectural heritage. we have spent a lot of years educating the group's -- groups of the world in san francisco. i was on the board under three mayors. i am here to make it simple for you. i would like you to recommend the hpc recommendations and no on supervisor wiener's amendments. i have another suggestion referencing to the secretary of interior standards. this is a national item. why don't we solve the problem, if there is one -- and i think there are a few -- in washington rather than in san francisco? there are enough people against the existing situation. let's solve it nationwide because i think there are enough people in the country that can do this to everybody's satisfaction.
he is going to set preservation so far back. i have spent 40 years on this and a lot of hours. i do not appreciate what he is trying to do. i do not think he has a clue, really. thank you. president miguel: thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i am an architect in the city. i have been involved in preservation for a couple of decades. a member of the american institute of architects. i would like to, first of all, the department for their work on the amendments to articles 10 and 11. without the landmark preservation advisory board, the language no longer makes sense. we have, by prop. j, now appointed by the mayor a board whose expertise is recognized as the authority in these items.
some of the amendments that have been proposed to articles 10 and 11 -- and it has been a long process over many, many months -- some of the amendments are a solution looking for a problem. survey is the buildings are there. as we plan for our future, by knowing what we have, we can actually avoid conflict rather than from it up, as is being suggested -- rather than drum it up. the adoption of the interpretations by the hpc is right. they are the experts. that is their purview. bringing it back to this commission seems less about good public policy and more about politics. today i would like to ask the commission to move forward the experts' revisions. the hpc and san francisco's architectural heritage. they are the ones who rightly should be in control of how we
interpret ceqa. obviously, the board of supervisors will have the last comments, so there is still time for politics later, and it is a sport in this town. as an architect, there are four codes we need to know. we need to know the california building code. we need to know the san francisco amendment. we need to know the planning code. and we need to know ceqa in the case of buildings more than 50 years old. to suddenly suggest that we could no longer put sprinklers in four-story wood frame buildings because we do not like it or think it is onerous or need a financial hardship exemption -- no one is proposing that. it is ludicrous. let's not put ceqa through the same torturous process that we have been engaged in here for so long. please forward the hpc's provisions. and let's move on.
>> i have renovated a number of buildings in san francisco. i also range the monthly meeting places for the victoria alliance where we meet every month in a different architecturally interesting space. one thing that i think is fairly obvious to everybody is that definitions of what is attractive in terms of architecture do change. hates victorian. i happen to like victorians very much, and i would say that most of my friends who have renovated victorians -- my friends and myself being over the age of 50 -- when we work on our
buildings, we wanted to do the right thing. we wanted to make sure that what we were doing was appropriate for the building. what i'm saying these days is with people who are "renovating" buildings is it is not necessarily -- they are not necessarily being done by people who have a love for the building they are doing. if you look at the glossy real- estate magazines or go to open houses, you see buildings that are described as being victorian. you look at the buildings and go, "my god, what in the world was somebody thinking?" what someone was thinking -- and they got it through the building department without a problem -- and a lot of our problems have to do with dbi as opposed to the planning department -- is, cassette and bottom line, how can i make as much money possible -- "bottom line, how
can i make as much money possible on this victorian structure and maximize the square footage and leave as little as possible of the building?" i would like to see the planning commission adhere to the suggestions that san francisco architectural heritage has made an historic preservation commission, finally, to move this legislation along. we are still losing a lot of our historic structures, and we need to do something to make sure that it is not in the name of development that our history is lost forever because there will be people who come after us who will wonder, "how was this
allowed to happen?" thank you. president miguel: thank you. >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. i represent a group called friends and parishioners of our lady of guadalupe. yesterday, there was a meeting, and i spoke about the history, but i will try to summarize in a few moments i have available here. 1848, u.s. has invaded mexico. after so much blood was shed, the treaty of guadalupe hidalgo was signed between mexico and the united states. mexico gained a great part of the territory -- mexico gave a
great part of the territory to this country. but the citizens who remain here who are spanish and portuguese and mexican -- they became automatically american citizens. 1849, the church of st. francis was established. at that time, they were only -- but then, in the year 1849, gold was discovered, and people came from all over the world. but there were so many italians, the italians went to st. francis, but after a while, they closed the spanish, and the mexicans go out, and they went to the other side of north beach and bought the land to establish our lady of guadalupe